Thu 8 Apr 2010
In my opinion, any college or university that doesn’t provide this kind of data to potential students is shockingly negligent in their responsibility to provide an education:
Major 50th percentile 25th percentile Humanities 38000 24500 Social Science 45000 29764 History 39600 25000 Biological Sciences 43000 30000 Math 50000 35400 Public Affairs 39000 29500 Engineering 69000 53000 Education 34000 22500 Business 51000 34100 Health 47000 31000 Psychology 38000 24000 other 42500 27700 overall 44998 29764
My view of all this is that it confirms my point that “college graduate” is not a homogeneous category. The economic effect of increasing the number of college graduates is going to vary, depending on whether you graduate more engineers or more humanities majors.
While he’s focusing more on the effect on the economy, I’m focusing more on the effect on individuals — many young kids are told “go to college!” with the implication that they’ll be financially successful if they do so. While I always advocate doing what you enjoy, the table above shows that a huge percentage of graduates in the social sciences and liberal arts are not going to be making enough money to support themselves or a family.
If a college education were costless, it would only be a harmless lie that we tell kids. As it is, it usually costs 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars, (which need to be repaid in most cases!) in addition to psychologically placing many jobs out of one’s purview, which makes this is a pretty sickening betrayal.